Guest Post Written by Cora Fuss
A mother works in the kitchen cooking dinner while in the living room her children play together happily with her husband. She prepares a beautiful meal and brings it to the table. Everyone sits down together, says grace, and thanks the mother for her delicious meal. The children willingly eat their meal and sit politely while they wait for everyone at the table to finish. Finally, when everyone is done, the children carry their plates to the sink.
This sounds like dinner at your house, right? Well it’s certainly not mine! Dinner time at my house looks a little more like this:
I look at the clock at 5 and realize I still haven’t started dinner. Lovey and Kitten (ages 4 and 19 months) are arguing over a toy and when they see me leave the living room they scream louder; Kitten runs into the kitchen after me and clings to my leg. Honey, my dear husband, is in the living room trying to get Lovey to stop screaming and cannot therefore come to my rescue to release the leg-clinger.
I begin cooking dinner with Kitten attached to my leg. Crap. What was I supposed to make? Baked chicken was on the menu but said chicken is a hard block in the freezer; I resort to Plan B. Pasta. Simple, right? Not. We have many food allergies in our house including but not limited to: gluten, dairy, tomatoes. So a simple pasta meal is anything but. We use brown rice pasta, but we can’t have tomato sauce, or cream sauce. What does that leave? Usually veggies in a stock-like sauce. Tonight it is broccoli rabe and cannellini beans. Sounds great. Except the kids won’t eat it. Now in addition to this quick easy pasta dish I also have to grate and cut carrots for Lovey (who likes plenty of veggies but is shall we say-particular) and open a can of pears for Kitten (she isn’t a lover of veggies but will eat most fruit).
Did I mention that if we don’t eat by 5:30 Kitten starts crying and looking for food in the garbage can? (True story.) I quickly rush through the rest of the meal prep, plate dinner, get sippy cups of juice, and tell Honey , who is now ensconced behind the iPad screen, it’s time for dinner. After the second request for assistance everyone makes their way to the table. I hoist Kitten into her booster and am about to sit down when I realize there’s no silverware on the table. Off to the kitchen. Back at the table we all sing Johnny Appleseed as our form of grace. Lovey whines her carrots are touching her pasta and requests another plate. Off to the kitchen. Back at the table again I begin to eat. Kitten eats at lightning speed and then determines the food is no longer worthy of her attention. After all, she’s eaten all her pasta and pears and all that remains are the dreaded leafy, green vegetables. Rather than say “all done” she swipes her plate off the table sending a broccoli rabe and carrot shower all over the dining room floor. She manages to knock her sister’s cup off the table too, spilling juice. Off to the kitchen. Back in the dining room with a towel I clean the mess and return to my dinner. Again. Kitten is demanding loudly to get out of her booster. She is out and into my lap where she tries to reach the light switch behind me to play on/off while I attempt to finish my meal even though Kitten’s body is in my face covering my mouth. Lovey is done with everything but her carrots which she needs to eat in order to have a treat after dinner. Eating four carrot slices takes the next twenty minutes filled with lots of diversionary 4-year-old stories, countless reminders to keep eating, threats of no treats, crying (hers not mine), and a complete and total loss of patience (mine not hers). Finally once the carrots have been eaten dinner has officially ended. Thank God. Repeat nightly for several years.
I’m guessing if your children are the same age as mine your dinner time looks similar. It’s no wonder I enjoy eating lunch by myself in my office at work. The last two times we’ve gone out with friends who also have kids we all relished being able to sit at the table and not get up during the meal or have to keep watch for flying plates. Despite the craziness sitting down as a family for dinner is one of my favorite parts of the day. Most of the time.
Cora Fuss is a thirty-something mother and wife who lives in Wethersfield. Her girls are 4 and 19 months and very unique and wonderful individuals who both love dolls and often fight over them. She had horrible illness-ridden pregnancies and amazing labors. Not that you asked. During the day she fights crime as a middle school psychologist in a Greater Hartford school district. Her husband of 6 years is a high school science teacher for the same district. When not working, Cora enjoys spending time with the kids and the husband going on family adventures and crossing things off the family bucket list. In her alone time (all 5 minutes of it) Cora enjoys reading, occasionally blogging here, and baking allergen free desserts.